It is far from an uncommon problem. A lot of people have dental phobia or, put in simpler terms, being afraid of the dentist. Some of these fears stem from bad experiences, while others arise from the understandable worry about people taking tools to your mouth. However, everyone needs help from the dentist, so putting aside these fears is necessary. But, how do you get over being scared of the dentist? Let’s talk about the phobia that concerns fear, anxiety, and stress in dental patients.
Choose a dentist who you trust
Your fear may not be of a specific dentist, but knowing the dentist you are going to see, and taking the time to talk with them can help put you at ease. If they have good bedside manner, you can start to build a trusting relationship.
On the other hand, let’s say you see a dentist who doesn’t listen to your fears and doesn’t seem to care about concerns that matter to you. This experience can heighten your existing anxiety about the dental office.
Also, gather information to help inform you about what to expect at future appointments. Ask them about what treatments involve, for example. Ask them to describe the kinds of sensations you are likely to feel to help you emotionally prepare for the visits to come.
Go for checkups to avoid serious procedures later
First of all, consider the bargain you’re making by taking regular trips to the dentist now. The longer you put it off, the more likely you are to have worsening oral health issues later. That is because they won’t be identified and treated early on.
If you don’t go to the dentist for regular dental maintenance, you risk having to go for more extensive treatments down the road. Most people would much rather go for a check-up and a cleaning twice a year than a filling or root canal every couple of years.
Dental phobia: Find dentists who can accommodate you
If you find it overwhelming to control your fear of being in the dentist chair, to the point that you physically acted out in the past, there are still options for you. While traditionally used to aid in treatment, a sedation dentist can also use general anesthetic to put patients under if they suffer extreme stress or anxiety in the chair.
In this case, the patient has no memory or experience of the treatment itself. You simply waking up after it is done to get on with the recovery process. That is one strategy to manage the dental phobia fear whereby anxiety and stress keep a dental patient from sitting in the chair.
Seek professional help if you’re afraid of the dentist
What if nothing so far combats how scared you are of dentists? Then consider speaking with someone who can help you address it. Finding an online counselor can help you gain quick access to someone who is suitable specifically for treating a dental phobia and more.
Often, the treatment involves some therapeutic exposure as part of finding out details of your specific fear. It might be the needles that have you feeling anxious, for example. Or, it might be the thought of dental pain. The reason why you are scared of dentists might be something else entirely.
With therapeutic exposure, a professional gradually exposes you to the fear in a safe environment. The intention is for you to become better equipped to go through treatment.
Final words on how to get over dental phobia
Getting over any fear isn’t easy. But, it’s not impossible, either. Furthermore, the future of your overall health, not just your oral health, depends on overcoming being afraid of the dentist.